Feb 6 2014 - 12:36 am

Blizzard's new $15,000 competition puts fan-made games in the spotlight

Last week, developer Blizzard made all the custom games and maps based on its StarCraft series free to download
Dot Esports

Last week, developer Blizzard made all the custom games and maps based on its StarCraft series free to download. Now the company has announced a $15,000 contest to push more fan-made projects into the spotlight.

Fans will be able to submit their entries to the “Rock the Cabinet” contest until May 31 Contest. Blizzard says the competition is designed “encourage the creation of awesome games”, and it's pretty clear why.

Blizzard's StarCraft Arcade, where the games are housed, hosts some of the most popular custom modifications, or mods, based on the StarCraft 2 engine, including Starbow, a clever mix of the StarCraft 2 game engine and the gameplay of its prequels. A popular game like Starbow's only fuels the success of the Blizzard franchise on which it's based.

The rules are basic. Participants will need to submit a custom game that is in English, support at least one player but no more than six, and have it labeled per Blizzard’s specifications. Aside from that, would-be competitors are allowed to go hog wild--we could see everything from single-player RPGs to six-man Iron Chef stand-offs.  

While it looks like Blizzard will be handling the initial round of curation, it’d be the community who eventually decides who the final five will be. The first-place winner will get to walk home with $7,000, free localization of their game to multiple languages, tickets to the upcoming Blizzcon and a video conference with the developers. As a piece of PR, this is pretty smart on Blizzard's part: Everyone wins.

Photo by Marco Verch/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)